MIAMI – Sebastian Vettel bested NASCAR stars Kurt and Kyle Busch to win the Race of Champions Nations Cup for Germany on Sunday at Marlins Park.
The victory by Vettel gave Germany its seventh victory in the annual Nations Cup portion of the Race of Champions. Vettel represented Team Germany by himself due to Pascal Wehrlein’s withdrawal from Sunday’s event because of a crash on Saturday.
Vettel was unbeaten all day before eventually sweeping the first two rounds of the three-round final against the Busch brothers, both former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champions.
“The Race Of Champions is a great competition, but yesterday I went out very early,” Vettel said. “So I wanted to make sure I didn’t leave the States empty-handed. I started on the wrong foot but it helped me to take it a bit more seriously. Today I just wanted to get some more time on the track. I found the rhythm straightaway and it felt pretty good. Unlike yesterday, I got along with all the cars today. But that’s the way it goes: sometimes you wake up and it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It obviously worked out well but of course it would have been nicer to share this victory with Pascal.”
Vettel reached the final by defeating Team Colombia’s pairing of Gabby Chaves and the individual Champion of Champions from Saturady, Juan Pablo Montoya, in two straight heats.
The other semi-final was a closer affair. Team USA NASCAR’s Kurt Busch and Team USA IndyCar’s Alexander Rossi had to have a third heat tie-break after they won one heat apiece. In the end it was Kurt Busch who prevailed, sending Rossi and his fellow Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay home.
The afternoon’s proceedings began with the ten teams divided up into three groups. Group A featured three teams from the USA plus Team ROC Factor Canada. Group B was an all-European affair with Team Great Britain, Team Germany and Team Nordic. Group C focused on South America with Team Brazil, Team Colombia and Team ROC Factor Latin America.
After the ROC Nations Cup finished the all-new Ryder Cup-style America vs The World event closed out the weekend . This time the six American drivers took on all the other drivers in a head-to-head shootout, in a race to collect eight points.
The scores were tied at 3-3 after the first round of races, with American wins for Kyle and Kurt Busch plus Alexander Rossi. The World responded with wins by Juan Pablo Montoya, Tom Kristensen and Felipe Massa.
There were double points on the line in the second round, which opened with American Scott Speed defeating Helio Castroneves. The newly-crowned ROC Nations Cup winner Vettel responded by beating Travis Pastrana before Kyle Busch took America to a 7-5 lead by defeating Jenson Button.
In the end it boiled down to a single winner-takes-all heat between Global Rallycross champion Speed and World Rallycross Chamion Petter Solberg in the RX Supercar Lite. Solberg prevailed to seal an 8-7 win for The World.